MARY IS S0 TENDER AN ADVOCATE, THAT SHE DOES NOT REFUSE TO DEFEND THE CAUSE EVEN OF THE MOST MISERABLE.
So many are the reasons that we have for loving this our most loving Queen, that if Mary was praised throughout the world — if, in every sermon, Mary alone was spoken of — if all men gave their lives for Mary — still all would be little in comparison with the homage and gratitude that we owe her in return for the tender love she bears to men, and even to the most miserable sinners, who preserve the slightest spark of devotion for her. Blessed Raymond Jordano used to say, ‘that Mary knows not how to do otherwise than love those who love her; and that even she does not disdain to serve those who serve her; and in favor of such a one, should he be a sinner, she uses all her power, in order to obtain his forgiveness from her blessed Son.’ And he adds, ‘that her benignity and mercy are so great, that no one, however enormous his sins may be, should fear to cast himself at her feet; for she never can reject any one who has recourse to her.’ Mary, as our most loving advocate, herself offers the prayers of her servants to God, and especially those which are placed in her hands; for as the Son intercedes for us with the Father, so does she intercede with the Son, and does not cease to make interest with both, for the great affair of our salvation, and to obtain for us the graces we ask.’
Mary takes care of all, even of sinners; indeed, she glories in being called, in a special manner, their advocate, as she herself declared to the venerable sister, Mary Villani, saying, ‘ After the title of Mother of God, I rejoice most in that of Advocate of sinners.’
In the Pontifical States, a young woman who was very devout to Mary, met with a captain of bandits. Fearing some outrage, she entreated him for the love of the most Blessed Virgin not to molest her. ‘Fear nothing,’ he replied; ‘since you have asked me in the name of the Mother of God, all that I desire is that you should recommend me to her; ‘and in fact, he himself accompanied her along the road to a place of safety. On the following night Mary appeared to the bandit in a dream, and thanking him for the action he had performed for her love, assured him that she would not forget it, and would one day reward him. The robber was afterwards made a prisoner and condemned to death. The night before the execution was to take place, behold the Blessed Virgin again appeared to him in a dream, and first of all asked him whether he knew her? He replied that it seemed to him that he had seen her before. ‘I am,’ she then said, ‘ the Blessed Virgin Mary, and am come to reward thee for what thou hast done for me. Tomorrow thou wilt die, but thou wilt die with so much contrition that thou wilt go at once to paradise.’ The prisoner awoke and felt such sorrow for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, at the same time thanking our Blessed Lady aloud. He then begged that a priest might be immediately called, he confessed his sins to him with many tears, related the vision he had had, and entreated him to publish the grace which he had received from Mary. He went with great joy to execution; after which it is said, that his countenance was so peaceful and happy, that all who saw him believed that the promise of the Divine Mother had been fulfilled.
0 great Mother of my Lord, I see full well that my ingratitude towards God and thee, and this too for so many years, has merited for me that thou shouldst justly abandon me, and no longer have a care of me, for an ungrateful soul is no longer worthy of favors. But I, O Lady, have a high idea of thy great goodness; I believe it to be far greater than my ingratitude. Continue then, 0 refuge of sinners, and cease not to help a miserable sinner, who confides in thee. 0 Mother of Mercy, deign to extend a helping hand to a poor fallen wretch, and who asks thee for pity. 0 Mary, either defend me thyself, or tell me to whom I can have recourse, and who is better able to defend me than thou, — and where I can find with God a more clement and powerful advocate than thou, who art His Mother. I shall always sing thy mercies, and kiss for eternity those loving hands, which have delivered me from hell, as often as I have deserved it by my sins. 0 Mary, my liberator, my hope; my Queen, my Advocate, my own sweet Mother, I love thee; I desire thy glory, and I will love thee forever. Amen, amen. Thus do I hope.